You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
MENU

Pedestrian Cheese & Deli: Not so pedestrian cheeses and sandwiches

  • Comments
Pedestrian Owners

Holly and David Heitmann opened their restaurant “Pedestrian” last year after three years of planning and consideration.

The Origin of Pedestrian Cheese & Deli

In the heart of downtown Lawrence, a pale pink building pops out from the concrete and brick that surrounds it. A giant green sign reading “Pedestrian” pulls in curious customers. Outside is a large patio enclosed using recycled pallets from Free State Brewery with well-spaced dining tables and chairs. Inside, you’ll find a giant wrap-around cheese case and bar, as well as hand-painted signs and a wall of wine. 

Pedestrian Cheese is the brainchild of Holly and David Heitmann. “I wanted it to feel really bright and kind of like a bodega feel,” says Holly who has wanted a restaurant since she was 15. 

The couple played around with the idea of opening a cheese shop for the last three years. Once they had their second child and knew they were done having kids, they decided to start looking for a space.

They signed their lease in February, just before COVID-19 began to spread across the country. They initially planned to have their grand opening on March 1, but ended up pushing it back to the end of May because of the pandemic. 

The couple said they had a great summer but eventually made the decision before Thanksgiving to shut down their kitchen so they could have only two employees at a time and keep everything contact free. 

outdoor patio @ pedestrian

Pedestrian is currently offering limited outdoor dining, as well as a seating outside in their large patio.

“We very much did not want to be a vector — for the purpose of keeping our staff healthy as well as, obviously our customers and the community,” David says.

In March, they finally felt comfortable opening Pedestrian back up because their staff was able to get fully vaccinated. 

The Menu

Cheese is obviously one of the most important aspects to the menu at Pedestrian. However, Holly, who creates the menu, says that her cooking style is very veggie-forward as she was a vegetarian for a decade.

In addition to veggies and cheese, freshness is key to Holly’s recipes. “I love lots and lots of herbs. I also really like strong flavors — bold flavors. I think that ties into our cheeses as well,” Holly says.

“The agriculture in this area is a huge inspiration to me,” Holly says. Using local ingredients and learning how to eat based off of the season was something very important to her because it’s more environmentally friendly and better for the local economy.

The menu mainly consists of sandwiches which actually came as a pivot because of the pandemic. Their initial plan was to do small plates with no permanent menu but they switched out of necessity for take-away friendly food. 

Holly says around 90% of Pedestrian’s ingredients are local. She shops at local farms in Kansas, Missouri and the Lawrence Farmers’ Market to get most of her ingredients.

“We have really high standards for our food, our sourcing, our products and what goes into it — the ethics of it. But we also just want to make really good food for people to enjoy.” They don’t market their restaurant as farm-to-table and advertise their food ethics because Holly says, “to us, that’s what all restaurants should be doing.”

“In a perfect world,” David says.

“Yeah! But, you know, that’s why you start a business because you get to make the perfect version of it,” Holly says as the couple laughed.

While I was there, I tried their “Loaded Veggie” sandwich which changes on a weekly basis — or while ingredients last. The one available at the time was a hummus sandwich with corn salad, sugar snap peas, pickled radishes, Bulgarian feta and a basil aioli which compliments this sandwich perfectly. 

loaded veggie sandwich

The “Loaded Veggie Sandwich” changes on a weekly basis according to in-season vegetables and herbs.

I also tried the “House Grilled Cheese” (for around the 15th time), which has a brown butter allium spread, French Brie and cottonwood cheddar on a baguette made in Kansas City. The brown butter allium spread adds a slight sweetness, there’s a perfect crunch in the baguette and the mix of cheeses complement each other well.

house grilled cheese ped

The “House Grilled Cheese” is made with brown butter allium spread, French Brie and cottonwood cheddar on a baguette.

Every entree comes with one of their sides: “Southern Dill Potato Salad,” “Summer Pesto Pasta Salad” or a bag of chips.

The pesto pasta salad, which is served cold, is a callback to Holly’s love of herbs as she uses cilantro, parsley and mint — a very unique yet delicious touch. She also uses a cashew creme as a base, which makes it extremely smooth and creamy.

I also tried three cheeses from their enormous selection. The “Green Dirt Farm” fresh sheep milk cheese has a subtle flavor and is very spreadable and creamy — mainly because sheep’s milk has the highest fat content of any type of milk, Holly says. “Humboldt Fog” has a thick yet soft rind, is cracker spreadable and has a slight tang. “Zimbro” is a Portuguese thistle-rennet cheese made with sheep’s milk. It’s harder on the outside and more molten on the inside. It has a little bit of a tang from the thistle rennet — almost like a hint of lemon zest, David says.

cheese board

Pedestrian has a large cheese selection — pictured (from left to right) is the Zimbro thistle-rennet sheep cheese, Green Dirt Farm’s fresh sheep’s milk cheese and Humoldt Fog

The Community

The main reason the couple opened their restaurant is because of their love of food. However, Holly says they also opened it “for it to be an active space within the community, for our employees but also as a business and so, working alongside other businesses is an awesome way of doing it.”

inside pedestrian

The restaurant’s bright colors and hand-painted signs were inspired by Southern bodegas.

The couple say they have also enjoyed collaborating with other Lawrence businesses.

“It kind of helps you get on board with the community and it’s been huge,” David says.

They have a date-night board in collaboration with Liberty Hall. Customers can buy a cheese board, a bottle of wine and movie rental tickets from Pedestrian then go home for a nice date night.

They provide cheese boards for Mud and Lotus for a “soak and snack,” where you can snack on cheese while soaking in an outdoor hot tub.

They also have cheese boards that can be purchased while drinking at John Brown’s Underground.

While Pedestrian does feature many cheeses, wines and ingredients with names and features that I’ve never heard of, the staff is more than willing to help out and explain what everything is. 

“A lot of what we do with the restaurant in general is try to make it really accessible — we don’t want to be haughty about any of our products including our cheeses and our wine,” David says.

Recommended for you

Person 1: This song slaps.

Person 2: Your mom slaps.

Person 1: Thank you, my mom is a kind and wonderful lady.


 Person 1: I’m so sick of alcohol.

Person 2: I don’t know, I’m getting stronger every day. I love it.


Person 1: Do you do the vegan wrap here?

Person 2: We can do the chicken wrap with no cheese?

Person 1: I’ll take the Beyond Burger please. 


Person 1: Oh my God! I feel like I know you somehow…

Person 2: Yeah, we went to high school together. 

Person 1: Oh! *walks off*


Guy 1: Is the black market even real? Has anyone ever been on it?

Guy 2: I tried once but I couldn’t figure out how to get on.


Guy 1: I stayed up until 2 am watching Disney plus

Guy 2: I told my girlfriend I fell asleep but I was actually watching the Mandalorian.


Girl 1: How long have you guys been dating?

Girl 2: Since the summer, well actually for like two years but it’s a long story.


Girl 1: Who are you looking for?

Girl 2: This guy, wait I found him. Fanny pack boy. He flipped off my professor after a test and ran out of the classroom.


Girl 1: How did you choose KU? 

Girl 2: Honestly, I flipped a coin. 


Boy 1: Did I tell you? I think I had a threesome this weekend.

Boy 2: Woah, hold up. You think?


Boy 1: I was born a Phi Delt.

Boy 2: Please don’t ever say that again.


Girl 1: How do you get your boobs to look like that?

Girl 2: I don’t ever wear a bra? I don’t know. 


Girl 1: I just really want a guy to bend me over you know?

Girl 2: How do you know? You’re a virgin!


Guy: Sometimes I wish I could just be a dog and sleep all day. 

Girl: You wake up at like three every day. 

Guy: I know.

Girl: So…

Guy: So does that make me a dog or something?


Girl 1: I wish I was a little bit taller.

Girl 2: I wish I was balder.

Girl 1: I wish I had a...wait, wait, wait balder?


Guy 1: Let’s slap dicks

Guy 2: You ever pee and it feels like throwing up?


Woman 1: *holding baby* He would have been safer at the Hawk

Woman 2: Oh absolutely.


Girl 1: I would never date that guy.

Girl 2: Well, it depends how much money he has.


Girl 1: I’m going to the doctor to see if I have bronchitis before I hook up with him again.

Girl 2: Yeah that’s smart so you don’t give it to anyone else. 

Girl 1: No I mean I want to make sure I infect him.


Guy 1: I'm cutting some of my unnecessary costs, starting with Juuling.

Guy 2: Ight man, good luck.

Guy 1: Actually I might just start chewing


Guy 1: How was work?

Guy 2: My manager was chastising me for not dressing up in a Halloween costume, she doesn’t understand I’m strictly here to get paid.


Guy 1: I am so tired of this week, man

Guy 2: Dude it’s Monday

Guy 1: I know


Person#1: I want to be on the first ship to mars

Person#2: Not me, I doubt they have Wi-Fi

Perons#1: Yeah but at least they’re evolving up there. We’re all just devolving.


Girl 1: Um, I don’t eat pig.

Girl 2: You eat bacon all the time, bitch.


Guy 1: You better get going. 

Guy 2: Yeah, see ya. I’m off to get some Adderall.


Girl 1: Are you home right now?

Girl 2: Yeah, why?

Girl 1: I bought a cat


Girl 1: I just don't understand what fishing is for.

Girl 2: I don't know. Food, maybe?


Guy: I’m just gonna have to like carry an entire box of spiders up the hill tomorrow.

Girl: What?

Guy: Yeah, just like a hundred spiders in a box.


Guy 1: Sometimes ya just gotta give yourself a haircut.

Guy 2: Dude, you shaved half your head. That’s not a haircut, that’s a mess.


Girl 1: Can you eat fruit raw?

Girl 2: How else are you supposed to eat it?


Girl: That class is killing us. ​But they say rest is for the dead.

Guy: Well, at least we'll be rested.


Girl: She's not in class this semester.

Guy: Maybe she's dead.

Girl: Or studying abroad.


Girl: They're like oil and water.

Guy: Wow, you're so good with analogies.